Go to any grocery store, and you’ll find endless rows of flavored drinks that are touted as healthy yet often come with at least some strings attached. But what if you could make your own drinks at home that were actually healthier than water? That’s what is promised in a relatively new machine that uses pods filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to transform ordinary tap water into wellness drinks. It sounds like a great idea, but is it worth adding yet another gadget to your kitchen countertop?

Meet the Vitapod Machine

Vitapod might look a little familiar, resembling a Keurig or similar pod-based machine. But this one isn’t for making coffee … The product description explains that Vitapod filters water multiple times, cools it to “optimal” drinking temperature, and mixes it with specially-formulated pods. On that note, the mixing chamber is said to blend everything at up to 690 RPMs which is apparently faster than the blades of a military-grade helicopter. Fun fact. That’s the machine, but the star here is the pod, and there are a bunch to choose from — and it’s not just about flavors.

Hydra+: Focused on health and hydration with a blend of electrolytes along with vitamins A, C, D, E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and more.Enriched+: Covers other pod varieties including Immunity+, Beauty+ and Energy+

The nice thing about Energy+ is that it contains caffeine. The description also says it boosts metabolism 50-100 calories per day with one drink that can lead to losing 5-10 pounds a year. Time will tell on that one. The Vitapod Machine Starter Kit costs $199.99 and includes an 18.5 oz. bottle and a variety pack of 10 pods. Pods are sold in packs of 30, ranging in price from $34.99 to $44.99. There’s a lot more regarding the ingredients and science behind it, but as I mentioned, this gadget’s primary goal is to turn your tap water into a magical, nutritional drink. Let’s see how it works.

Setting it up for first time use

I was sent a Vitapod Machine Starter Kit to review, along with additional pods. You can see how it compares in size to my Keurig. Setup wasn’t too complicated, but it involved removing the tank from the machine, rinsing it, installing the filter and going through a 10-minute filtration process. Once that’s done, it’s ready to go, but keep in mind that it goes through that 10-minute process anytime you have to refill the tank. On the front, there are buttons for water filtration, cooling, a size selector (default is the biggest size: 16.9oz.) and a GO button. There’s also a water level indicator that shows when it’s about time for a refill. Once that’s all familiar, you just pick a pod, insert it into the pod chamber and hit the GO button. It was a little on the loud side but didn’t take too long to dispense the pod contents, followed by water. Moment of truth: how it tastes.

How do these wellness drinks taste?

For my first experience with Vitapod, I chose Energy+, which is named Orange Zest. And you know what? I actually liked it. The flavor wasn’t overpowering, and there was no hint of any strange taste. I didn’t use the feature that cools down the drink, but I added ice (which you can also use in the tank). And I have to say, this drink tasted good from start to finish. Over the past few weeks, my family and I have tried just about all of the other flavors sent from Raspberry Hibiscus to Blueberry Pomegranate and, yes, even Cotton Candy. I can’t say I’m a big fan of that last one, but I definitely have my favorites like Iced Tea.

Verdict: Is the Vitapod Machine worth it?

This is one of those gadgets that isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and it’s certainly not going to be on everyone’s wish lists. Because if you’re already someone who drinks a healthy amount of water each day, this is an expensive way to add a little flavor. On the other hand, if you’re someone who just doesn’t care all that much for water (like me), this is worth a closer look. The same goes for those who already buy varying types of health and/or energy drinks with a wide range of prices. Those bottles can have an average price anywhere from $1 to $2.50 or more, whereas these pods average from $1.16 to $1.50, depending on the option. That’s not even considering smoothies and other trendy health drinks you can buy at gyms and elsewhere. Yes, you have to take the $200 price tag of the machine into account, but it actually could, possibly, one day (maybe) actually pay for itself based on changing habits. That leads me to one final point …

Vitapod and sustainability

Vitapod isn’t just about building a machine that makes healthy drinks in a neat way. The company is big in sustainability, saying that for every machine it sells, it stops 50 single-use plastic bottles from making their way into oceans. There’s something pretty noble in that. It goes further than that. In a partnership with Plastic Bank, each pod has 90% less plastic than one single-use plastic bottle. The pods are also biodegradable, or “Viogradable,” as Vitapod calls it, with plastic that breaks down over time. The starter kit even comes with a recycling bag to keep your used pods. Yes, this is absolutely something I would buy … and not just because I really like that Iced Tea Lemon Infusion pod.